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F-4 Phantom II

Our Tribute to the F-4

This section of Planes Of The Past is meant to be a tribute to those who designed & built the F-4 at McDonnell-Douglas, the crews who flew her in various military branches, and those who have worked tirelessly to preserve this supersonic fighter, and its history.

F-4 Phantom in flightF-4 Phantom II in flight

F-4 Phantom II Development History

In 1953, McDonnell Aircraft began work on revising its F3H Demon naval fighter, seeking expanded capabilities and better performance. In September of 1953, McDonnell approached the U.S. Navy with a proposal for the "Super Demon". Subsequently, the McDonnell design was reworked into an all-weather fighter-bomber.

In July of 1955, the Navy ordered two XF4H-1 prototype test aircraft, and five YF4H-1 pre-production fighters. The Phantom made its maiden flight on May 27, 1958. It entered service in 1961.

The Phantom was first used by the U.S. Navy as an interceptor but also was capable of flying as a ground-support bomber for the U.S. Marine Corps. The aircraft flew every traditional military mission: air superiority, close air support, interception, air defense suppression, long-range strike, fleet defense, attack and reconnaissance.

The U.S. Air Force received Phantoms as the result of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's push to create a unified fighter for all branches of the military. The USAF began accepting deliveries of its F4-C version in 1963.

The F-4D, with major changes that increased accuracy in weapons delivery, was delivered to the USAF in 1966, the Air National Guard in 1977, and the Air Force Reserve in 1980.

F-4 Phantom Performance

The two-place, twin-engine, all-weather supersonic F-4 Phantom II flew at Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound), and could carry a payload of up to 16,000 pounds of bombs, rockets, missiles and guns. Each aircraft had 54,197 feet of wiring and 643,000 fasteners holding it together.

In air combat, the Phantom's greatest advantage was its thrust, which permitted a skilled pilot to engage and disengage from the fight at will.

The aircraft could perform tactical air roles such as air superiority, interdiction and close air support, as it did in Southeast Asia.

The Phantom was the first multiservice aircraft, flying concurrently with the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. It is the first and only aircraft ever to be flown concurrently by both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds.

F-4 Phantom Specifications

F-4 Phantom engines
F-4 Phantom engines
Photo by Planes Of The Past

Engines: Two General Electric J-79-GE-15s of 17,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: 1,400 mph
Cruising speed: 590 mph
Range: 1,750 miles
Ceiling: 59,600 ft.
Span: 38 ft. 5 in. (27 ft. 6 in. folded)
Length: 58 ft. 2 in.
Height: 16 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 58,000 lbs. loaded

F-4 Phantom Production Statistics

From 1958 to 1979, when the production line stopped, a total of 5,195 F-4 Phantom II aircraft were built. Of those, 5,057 rolled off the McDonnell Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas) production line in St. Louis, MO. The last 138 were built under license by Mitsubishi Aircraft Co. in Japan.

Of the 5,057 built in the United States, the U.S. Air Force took delivery of 2,874 aircraft; the Navy and Marine Corps, 1,264; and international customers, a combined total of 919. The Phantom still holds the record for the largest production run of any supersonic fighter built in the United States.

The F-4 Phantom II aircraft, which still flies in defense of 8 nations, was retired in 1996 from U.S. military forces, ending a record-studded 38-year career.

The Last F-4 Phantom Leaves Davis-Monthan AMARG in April, 2013

RF-4C Phantom tail number 68-0599 after regeneration at Davis-Monthan AMARGRF-4C Phantom tail number 68-0599 after regeneration at Davis-Monthan AMARG

The final F-4 regenerated from storage at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group performed its last flight over Tucson, Arizonza on April 17, 2013, before flying to Mojave, California.

Tail number 68-0599, an RF-4C Phantom, arrived at AMARG for storage on January 18, 1989 and had not flown since. The jet's assigned call sign was "Last One."

AMARG's technicians re-installed hundreds of parts and performed thousands of hours of maintenance to return the fighter to flyable status. This aircraft represents the 316th F-4 withdrawn from storage in support of Air Combat Command's full-scale aerial target program.

BAE Systems will convert the aircraft into a QRF-4C drone, and then deliver it to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Read more from the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base press release - 04/25/2013

Original F-4 Phantom Photos

McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II S/N 64-0673 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, AZ
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II S/N 64-0673 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, AZ
U.S. Navy McDonnell-Douglas YF-4J Phantom II, 151497, at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, AZ
McDonnell-Douglas YF-4J Phantom II S/N 15-1497 at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, AZ
Air Force Thunderbird No. 6 - McDonnell F-4E Phantom II - S/N 66-0289 at the Castle Air Museum
Air Force Thunderbird No. 6 - McDonnell F-4E Phantom II - S/N 66-0289 at the Castle Air Museum
McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II S/N 66-0329 in Thunderbird markings at the Pima Air Museum
McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II S/N 66-0329 in Thunderbird markings at the Pima Air Museum
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812
Delivered March 1968, retired from service March 1988
Historic Aviation Memorial Museum in Tyler, Texas
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812
Historic Aviation Memorial Museum in Tyler, Texas
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812 in Tyler, TX
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812 at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-8812
McDonnell-Douglas F-4D II Phantom S/N 66-8812
F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark near the
entrance to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Front nose view of F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark
F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Air intake area of F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tail section of F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518, Charles B. Hall Airpark
F-4D Phantom II S/N 66-7518 at the Charles B. Hall Airpark located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 63-7424, at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 63-7424, on display at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
Tail section of McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 63-7424, at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden
Tail section of McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 63-7424, on display at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 64-0664, Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 64-0664, on static display outside the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 66-0469, at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
McDonnell-Douglas F-4C Phantom II, 66-0469, on display at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah
Tailhook of F-4 Phantom at the USAF Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida
Tailhook of F-4 Phantom on display at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida
F-4D Phantom II at the Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
F-4D Phantom II on display at the Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
U. S. Navy F-4 Phantom II 152986 from the USS Coral Sea
at the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum, Patterson, Louisiana
F-4 Phantom II 152986 from the USS Coral Sea at the Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum, Patterson, Louisiana
F-4 Phantom fighters stored at Davis-Monthan AFB's AMARC facility in Tucson, Arizona
F-4 Phantom fighters stored at AMARG

F-4 Phantom II Photographs by Our Friends and Supporters

F-4 Phantom II S/N 64905 at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-4 Phantom II S/N 64905 on display at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska
F-4 Phantom II at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-4 Phantom II on display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
F-4 Phantom II at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-4 Phantom II on display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
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